Date of Award

Summer 9-2015

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Randall Feenstra


In this thesis, surface studies of two-dimensional materials on various substrates will be presented. The central materials of interest are graphene and hexagonal boron nitride, with the former studied exclusively on silicon carbide. Hexagonal boron nitride will be studied both on epitaxial graphene on SiC, as well as on transition metal foils – specifically nickel and copper. The central experimental method by which we investigate these materials systems is low-energy electron microscopy (‘LEEM’ – used also to refer to the microscope itself). LEEM allows for not only the direct, real-space imaging of surfaces, but also the obtaining of low-energy electron diffraction patterns from areas as small as 1 μm in diameter. Using the LEEM, we may acquire so-called reflectivity spectra, which will be described in more detail in the body of the work. These spectra are compared to a first-principles model, which was originally developed for the interpretation of such data acquired from graphene on copper foils. A more detailed synopsis of this thesis can be found in the final section of Chapter 1.